Trends in Master Data Management

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MDM and data quality have always been closely aligned but three recent announcements have emphasised that point even more. Each of them involves a larger vendor leveraging the efforts of a smaller, best-of-breed, third party supplier.

The first of these was Oracle’s announcement that it would be re-selling Silver Creek Software’s product data cleansing solution in conjunction with its product data hub. This was not particularly a surprise given that they had been partners for some time but nevertheless it validates my view that Silver Creek offers the best software of its type that is currently available on the market.

Secondly, Kalido has just released a matching capability within its MDM offering. This is based on the Netrics matching engine which has been integrated within the Kalido environment to give it the appropriate look and feel. Again, my view is that Netrics has the best matching engine out there, largely because of its use of bipartite graphs.

The Netrics software is, incidentally, also embedded within Global IDs’ data quality suite as well as being directly available from Netrics. I expect the company to announce other such OEM agreements in due course, and the same applies to Silver Creek.

Thirdly, IBM has announced that it is to acquire Exeros. This is perhaps the most significant of the three announcements. As long term readers will know I have been arguing for some months that the traditional data quality vendors (Global IDs is an exception) have focused too closely on using data profiling (which Exeros provides) as an adjunct for data cleansing and not enough on its role for data discovery purposes. This is particularly relevant for master data management where things like overlap and precedence analysis, and the discovery of matching keys is especially important. However, it is also valuable for a variety of other purposes, including data governance, data migration and data archival, amongst others, which is why IBM has talked about this acquisition supporting its Information Agenda. For a full discussion on the subject of data discovery see my Spotlight paper.

The bottom line is that Exeros is the leading product in this category (though x88 is also impressive and Global IDs has interesting capabilities in this area) and will therefore give IBM a substantial advantage both for its Information Agenda in general and in terms of MDM specifically. The latter won’t be all encompassing however as Exeros is currently resold by Siperian and, for that matter, CA. In the way of these things such arrangements do not get cancelled after acquisitions like this so Siperian should not be adversely affected, at least in the short term. As CA is reselling Exeros in conjunction with ERWin, CA is even less likely to be affected.

The interesting question is how much pressure this puts on the other MDM players with data quality solutions (like Dataflux and SAP/Business Objects) to build out their data profiling capabilities into the area of data discovery. It also raises the possibility of an early acquisition of x88. Whatever, I expect this to substantially raise the profile of data discovery. Having been focusing on it so much during the early part of this year it makes me feel a little smug!